Stuart Austin wants one more fight before challenging for the EFC heavyweight title, even though he could be next in line.
Champion Jared Vanderaa (8-3) will defend the belt for the first time against the DR Congo’s Ricky Misholas (7-7) in the co-main event of EFC 77 at Time Square in Pretoria on Saturday.
And while matchmaker Graeme Cartmell likes the idea of Austin (13-5) getting the winner, the Englishman has other ideas.
“I would like another fight before getting a chance at the title,” Austin tells mmaengage.com.
“I think I need to build more momentum,” adds Austin, who called out ex-champ Ruan Potts (11-7) after becoming the only man to knockout the now-retired Andrew van Zyl (19-5) in December.
Asked for a prediction on Vanderaa’s bout with Misholas, Austin backs the well-rounded American to make good as the betting favourite.
“I think Jared will be too much for Ricky,” he says.
“He will be too technical in all areas. Obviously Ricky has good punching power, so he does have a chance.”
Meanwhile, the Team Titan product was pleased to be nominated for the EFC Knockout of the Year award for his first-round demolition of Van Zyl.
Austin, however, expects Mzwandile Hlongwa’s (4-1) ‘hellbow’ finish of Norwegian Torbjorn Madsen (5-1) in November to win the gong at the EFC’s annual prize-giving tonight at Time Square (19h00 to 20h00).
“It’s great to be nominated for the Knockout of the Year, although Mzwandile Hlongwa’s spinning elbow is probably the best KO of 2018,” says the 31-year-old.
“I like to think mine was second though.”